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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Obama raises key points in his speech

    In a month dominated by Republican politics, President Barack Obama commanded the attention of America on Tuesday night with his State of the Union address.

    Predictably, but perhaps shrewdly, Obama took his first few minutes to remind everyone that he, in fact, was the man who was in charge of killing Osama bin Laden. It is notable, however, that not long after this reminder, foreign policy was absent from the speech for nearly an hour. America is concerned about its economy, and that was rightly the bulk of Obama’s address. He seemed genuinely committed to getting Americans back to work, but his plans to do so appeared a little questionable.

    A lot of his rhetoric was based less on generating jobs and more on “taking them back” from other countries. He seemed disdainful of multinational companies, and a little hostile toward China with his boasts of taking China to task for unfair trade. None of what he said was necessarily wrong, but he seemed to misunderstand that the economy is truly global.

    He spoke more effectively to economic matters when he moved to education. His commitment to training people for existing job vacancies, and to educating as many Americans as possible, was admirable and correct. So too were his remarks about energy, especially clean energy, which he rightly promised to work harder to exploit and to consume.

    As was inevitable, Obama addressed the partisan gridlock in Washington and, as ever, described his willingness to put an end to it. He missed an opportunity to do just that, however, by failing to speak substantially about the debt, one of his partisan opponents’ main concerns.

    Finally, his shortened foreign policy portion, very focused on the Middle East, held few surprises. America supports Israel, decries Iran and Syria, and has a major stake in democracy and justice in that region. The abbreviated length of his remarks on the world around us spoke louder, perhaps, than their content did.

    As is often the case with Obama, the State of the Union address was intellectual in content and classically oratorical in delivery, a fine contrast to the hyper-emotional language that seems to characterize politics nowadays.

    However, there were two moments in the speech that stirred the heart. One was at the very beginning, when he gave a genuinely heartfelt hug to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The second came at the end, when he once again called on his operation against bin Laden. With true passion, not of the political but of the merely human variety, he said that “no one built America alone.” Like the SEALs on that mission, America was built, and can continue to be built, only together, as a national team. If the only thing that anyone got from his State of the Union was the spirit of those remarks, then it was an address far from wasted.

    — Andrew J. Conlogue is a junior studying philosophy, politics, economics and law. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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